theScore NHL Draft Series: Noah Hanifin, and the master plan
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Just about every decision in Noah Hanifin's life has been made with a solitary focus in mind - the 2015 NHL Draft. Does his master plan include following in Aaron Ekblad's footsteps?

Noah Hanifin's dream isn't unlike the modest ones we chase.

There's obvious physical distinctions, and perhaps variation with the speed to which he's arrived at the summit built for himself. But planning, plotting, and action taken in pursuit of a goal, well, those elements are omnipresent.

You need them to be a fluid-skating defenseman tops on most draft boards. Some need them to roll out of bed in the morning.

For as long as he can remember, though, Hanifin has been machinating his dream; his every decision made with the 2015 NHL Draft in mind.

Hanifin has clear jurisdiction over his own affairs, but the first major decision was made for him. Neil Shea, a pro scout with the Colorado Avalanche and former minor hockey coach in the Boston area with the South Shore Kings, transitioned Hanifin at a young age to the position he now governs in the lead-up to Friday's draft.

"I was about seven or eight years old," Hanifin said at the NHL Combine. "I was always one of the bigger guys, when I was younger. I liked to skate the puck a lot. I was pretty offensive. (Shea) knows hockey really well, and he decided to put me on defense, thinking I had a lot potential there.

"I'm really happy he did that."

From there on, it was full speed ahead with sights transfixed.

Hanifin cultivated into a near-flawless technical skater and elite puck-moving defenseman. He pushed the envelop, playing up against top competition in the Boston area, which included cracking St. Sebastien's Varsity High School Team as a 13-year-old in the eighth grade.

He quickly secured notoriety and was recruited by USA Hockey and the National Team Development Program, which offered an ideal location to refine talent in his final few seasons of amateur athletics. But he had another checkpoint in mind before graduating to the pros, and it was one particularly meaningful to the Hanifin family.

He had always been a student and fan of Division 1, and was determined to follow in his grandfather's footsteps and attend Boston College.

Related: Zach Werenski living Michigan hockey dream in fast-forward.

Part strategy, largely heart, Hanifin made the necessary sacrifices to become the youngest player in Boston College history, and the master plan stayed in motion.

"Oh, a ton (of strategy)," he told theScore when asked about the amount of planning that goes into chasing a dream. "It starts when you're just a little kid too.

"When I was younger, I had the dream to play in the NHL someday, and going to Boston College was always part of that process."

There will be time to exhale, and weight will be lifted off Hanifin's shoulders when he's chosen in the lottery Friday night. But then, and perhaps for the first time ever, his next move won't be mapped out already.

Aaron Ekblad, the reigning first-overall selection and Calder Trophy winner, made the improbable task of surviving the NHL as an 18-year-old defenseman seem effortless last season with the Florida Panthers.

Though their games are different, and Hanifin won't arrive with the same first-overall pedigree, he believes he can clear the final hurdle, too, for the start of next season.

"I'm very confident in my capabilities," Hanifin told Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe. "I think I have the skating ability and the mind-set to make the jump to the NHL, but at the same time it's a very, very big adjustment and it's very important to be patient."

Patience, huh?

I guess the plan can undergo just slight modifications.

theScore NHL Draft Series: Noah Hanifin, and the master plan
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